So 3 Vancouverites walk into a bar….
The first is sustainably riding a bike home from downtown on one of Vancouver’s many bike routes, the second is on stop #2 of their brewery tour, and the third is talking about how great Vancouver used to be before real estate prices caused great live music venues like The Railway Club to close down.
This isn’t a joke, you’ve just stumbled upon one of the hidden gems in the East Vancouver brewery district. You’re on the bike path of Adanac Street, home to Off The Rail brewing.
Started by Steve Forsyth (whose family used to own and manage The Railway Club), this brewery has only been around for a couple years, but has already made a name for itself.
As you approach the brewery, you know you’re in the right place based on the hops climbing the many trellis’ adorning the sides of the brewery. You then climb the stairs where you’re usually met with a door man who is studiously counting the number of occupants. This brewery is definitely on the cozy side of things, so the occupant count needs to be spot on.
Those lucky enough to be on a brewery tour will be escorted to the right where a behind the scenes tour, a private room and flights await. Those here for a quick sample or a growler fill will wait for the doorman’s approval and then head left into the general tasting room.
As you stare at the board of 15+ beers in the tasting room, you think you’ll never be able to make up your mind. The realization that only 1/3 of these beers are actually available at any one time is actually a welcome help in narrowing down your decision. The check marks on the board help you know what is in season, and what is available for growler fills. An additional benefit of this chalk board is that Off The Rail is very open with the hop bill for each beer, and lists the included hops for each one. This is a great way to hone in on the specific attributes certain hops bring to each beer (as well as a great excuse to try multiple different beers, for those needing their rubber arm twisted).
The best example of their precise hop usage is in their mainstay “Czechmate Pilsner”. As the name suggests this is a classic Czech Style Pilsner which is already a perfect showcase for the Saaz hop. Off The Rail sticks to the tried and true by using this classic noble hop in this classic recipe. A good pilsner is more known for what it doesn’t have than what it does, and this Pilsner is exceptionally clean. The mild pilsner malt, and slightly herbal Saaz hop flavors are all you taste in this medium bodied beer, which is a very good thing. Highly drinkable, and great for a hot summer day once you complete your bike ride home down Adanac Street.